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Presidents and the Dissolution of the UnionLeadership Style from Polk to Lincoln$
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Fred I. Greenstein

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691151991

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691151991.001.0001

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Franklin Pierce and the Kansas-Nebraska Act

Franklin Pierce and the Kansas-Nebraska Act

Chapter:
(p.57) Chapter 5 Franklin Pierce and the Kansas-Nebraska Act
Source:
Presidents and the Dissolution of the Union
Author(s):

Fred I. Greenstein

Dale Anderson

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691151991.003.0005

This chapter assesses the strengths and weaknesses of Franklin Pierce, focusing on six realms: public communication, organizational capacity, political skill, policy vision, cognitive style, and emotional intelligence. Pierce won the Democratic Party's 1852 presidential nomination after a forty-eight ballot impasse in which none of the party's top three leaders was able to muster the two-thirds vote needed to become the Democratic flag bearer. A gregarious nonentity, he took office amid growing anger over the Fugitive Slave Act and passed on to his successor an acutely polarized nation. Pierce's historical reputation is captured in a survey of sixty-four historians conducted by C-SPAN in which he ranked fortieth in a field of forty-two.

Keywords:   American presidents, Franklin Pierce, public communication, organizational capacity, political skill, policy vision, cognitive style, emotional intelligence, Fugitive Slave Act, Democratic Party

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